All living things are on Earth are carbon based life forms, carbon is the essential element for all living things.
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On Earth, inorganic carbon (CO2) can be found:
1. in the atmosphere.
2. dissolved in oceans.
Organic carbon is found in only one place:
1. as part of the bodies that are living things.
– conduct photosynthesis; use light energy from the sun and water from the soil or ocean to combine CO2 into complex organic molecules
6 CO2 + 6H2O + light energy -> C6H12O6 (glucose) + 6 O2
– includes land and aquatic plants, algae and some bacteria
All living things:
– perform cellular respiration, which converts glucose into CO2 and H2O molecules
C6H12O6 (glucose) + 6 O2 -> 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy for cell
– the carbon that they use is repeatedly cycled through both processes
– this cycling of carbon is called the Carbon Cycle
Reservoirs of Inorganic Carbon:
– atmosphere (CO2 gas; 0.03%)
– oceans (dissolved in water or part of the shells of living things)
– Earth’s crust (rocks)
Reservoirs of Organic Carbon:
– bodies of living things (released by decomposers when organism dies)
– bogs (little decomposition; form coal)
– ocean floors (little decomposition; form oil)